Not a whole lot from the defensive field today as we were only given one real portion of defensive drills to watch this afternoon, but here are the noteworthy items:
Drills: The defensive backs worked mostly on their tackling form and trying to dislodge the football from ball carriers. Secondary coach Willie Martinez seemed pleased with the effort and intensity of his group during the drill work in preparation for the very talented passing attack they will see Saturday in Norman. It certainly isn’t earth-shattering news to think that Tennessee will likely need to force turnovers to win the game, so the corners and safeties spent their time practicing just that.
For linebackers and defensive linemen, the open portion was spent working on shedding blocks and flying to the football. The linebackers worked on their pursuit angles on wide runs and the defensive linemen focused on their initial strike at the line of scrimmage, reading the proper action, and reacting to the football.
It is worth noting that Curt Maggitt continues to work with both the linebackers and defensive linemen in preparation for his “Hybrid” position on Saturdays.
Butch on the mic: During one point early in practice, Butch Jones went after freshman defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix as he began his drills, “Come on Hendrix. Come on Hendrix. We don’t have time to wait on you to grow up, Hendrix. You still have your stripe on, Hendrix. Let’s go.”
Hendrix has shown flashes of his ability through two games, but his coach is clearly looking for more from him moving forward.
Scout team: Each week, nearly half the team dresses out in a colored jersey to represent the opponent for the scout team. Today, the scout team dressed in red jerseys to simulate Oklahoma, but several players wore black jerseys – likely to highlight impact players for the Sooners that the coaches want the team to focus on.
The players for OU were as follows:
#1 – K.J. Young (WR)
#17 – Jordan Smallwood (WR)
#10 – Blake Bell (TE)
#7 – Jordan Thomas (CB)
#13 – Ahmad Thomas (FS)
#80 – Jordan Phillips (DT)
Injuries: After missing some time with a wrist injury, freshman defensive back Rashaan Gaulden was back out with the team and participated in all of the drills with the DBs. Jalen Reeves-Maybin had a wrap on his leg, but didn’t appear limited in any form. Brian Randolph looks to be fully recovered from last week’s ankle injury that limited his playing time against Arkansas State and Trevarris Saulsberry was seen running on the sidelines as he tries to get back from a knee injury suffered during fall camp. Saulsberry looks light years ahead of where he was at this time last week, so consider that some solid progress.
Here’s a link to today’s Offensive Notes and Observations.